In DepthNobel Prizes

A cut above: pair that developed CRISPR earns historic award

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Science  16 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6514, pp. 271-272
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6514.271

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Summary

Decades typically pass before a discovery leads to a Nobel Prize, but the chemistry award last week celebrated two scientists who, a short 8 years ago, described how to transform an obscure bacterial immune mechanism into the most powerful genome editor ever devised: CRISPR. The award, to Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens and Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, marks the first time a Nobel Prize in science has gone to an all-female team. It also comes amid a high-stakes patent fight over the revolutionary genetic "scissors"—which promise to have an impact on medicine, crops, livestock, pest control, and even climate change. Other pioneering researchers in the once-small CRISPR field applauded the decision, noting that although many investigators helped push the research forward, Charpentier and Doudna made the key discovery that has led CRISPR to become a ubiquitous lab tool today.

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